Kannapolis shortstop Tim Anderson kept a cool demeanor for someone who just played his first career professional game.
Anderson strolled through the visiting clubhouse at Lake Olmstead Stadium to speak after the game, maintaining the same calmness he displayed during warmups and Thursday's game. But the 6-foot-1 shortstop out of East Central Community College in Mississippi displayed a quiet confidence that he belonged despite a shaky debut.
"It’s a job, and I’m here to play ball. I’m ready," he said.
Anderson was drafted 17th overall by the Chicago White Sox on June 6 and, after signing for slot value at $2,164,000 on June 12, was assigned to Class-A Kannapolis and immediately inserted in the lineup Thursday.
Anderson acknowledged the aggressive assignment came quick for him, but he made the point that he felt he was ready. He looked a bit rushed at the plate, going 0 for 4 with two strikeouts, and committed an error in the field, but he also showed some of the tools that drew the White Sox to him.
My immediate reaction after Thursday's game:
"Anderson showed the part of a toolsy shortstop with tons of projection, striking out twice on curveballs, nearly booting two balls at short and showing off a solid arm. As reports indicated, he failed to pick up spin, whiffing twice on it, but he also failed to get his hands around on inside stuff. That's not to say he doesn't have bat speed; he has good wrists and should produce a good hit tool. Things just seemed to be going too fast for him in his first game at the plate.
In the field, Anderson's range wasn't tested much. He got to one ball arm side and backhanded it well for a force out at second base. He backhanded one in the first inning that popped off his palm, but he recovered and gunned it to first for the out, showing an impressive arm and quick release."
After the game, Anderson said nerves played a part and, once he gets the "nervous bugs" out, he will be fine. It will be interesting to see if things slow down for him as the four-game series continues.
It's impossible to draw conclusions on a player in his first pro game, but there are reasons to be excited for Anderson's future. He's a raw, toolsy player who should stick at shortstop with plus-plus speed, the ability to produce some pop and a strong release that helps a solid average arm. If he taps into some of that power and sticks at the position, the White Sox could make out well with their first-round pick.